Trinity drops to Class A, WCCA moves up to AA

Published 12:06 am Saturday, February 21, 2009

NATCHEZ — Trinity Episcopal’s move from Class AA to Class A was expected to make the Saints’ football season a whole lot easier.

In fact, it’s just the opposite.

Head coach and athletic director David King is having a hard time scheduling non-conference Class-A teams but has already scheduled four AA and two AAA games for next season.

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“We have had a great amount of difficulty in scheduling non-conference games,” King said. “At this time, besides our three conference games, we don’t have a single game in our class.”

As of now, Trinity has scheduled Wilkinson County Christian, who was moved up to AA, River Oaks, Prairie View and Centreville. It will also take on AAA teams Copiah Academy and East Rankin. The Saints are still one game short of filling their 10-game schedule.

King said he approached Adams County Christian about continuing the cross-town rivalry, but both the Rebels and Cathedral declined to play a non-conference game against the Saints.

“I hate not being able to play those two fine schools,” King said. “I could not find a single school in this area that would play us. But I respect those schools’ decisions.”

King said the Saints will have to travel two and a half hours to at least two games this year, one reason he would have liked to play teams in town.

WCCA moved back up to AA and will be playing in District 5 with Centreville Academy this season.

The Rams went 3-7 this past season in District 6-A.

But despite playing tougher teams, coach Sam Byrd said there are advantages to moving back up.

“I’m glad to be playing teams that are closer to home,” he said. “We’ve been traveling so far the last two years — more than half our district was over four hours away. That made for some long nights, getting home at 2 or 3 a.m. The farthest we’ll have to travel now is about 50 miles.”

Byrd said nothing will change about the way the Rams prepare for teams, because they were facing many AA teams anyway.

ACCS moved from District 3-AA to District 5-AA, and coach Paul Hayles is also anticipating shorter travel times.

He said he doesn’t know exactly what teams he’s playing where, and he hasn’t yet finalized his non-conference schedule.

“Central Private is going to be our longest drive,” Hayles said. “With the cost of everything right now, any time you can save money that’s a bonus.”

King is thinking about money too when he schedules non-district games, which is why he wants teams with large traveling fan bases, like Centreville, to come to Natchez.

He said he’s worried that such a rigorous schedule will wear out his team early in the season, but he believes the team, and the fans, deserve a challenging schedule.

“I’ve been burned in the past with playing too many single-A schools, too,” he said. “I doubt there will be a single-A team in the state that will play two games against triple-A schools, but we’re doing it.”

Centreville and Huntington will stay in their respective districts, 5-AA and 6-A.